Code for America, in partnership with the Noun Project, is pleased to announce an initiative to collaboratively design new civic symbols for the public domain.
Theme: Food & Nutrition (list of nouns & concepts coming soon)
Speaker on Food & Nutrition: Amanda Shaffer, Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College
Collaborators: City Innovation Group
In August & September 2011, several cities across the US will participate in a series of design charrettes — day-long collaborative workshops — called “Iconathons”. Through facilitated design sessions, event participants will generate icons and symbols that visually convey concepts frequently needed in civic design. The aim of Iconathon is to add to the public domain a set of graphic symbols that can be used by both the public and the private sectors to easily communicate universally recognized concepts to city inhabitants.
Each participating city will have a topic and a set of about 30-50 civic concepts to choose from to design. For example, participants can modernize icons such as ‘family’ to reflect the makeup of modern families, create icons for new civic services like 311 (symbols for ‘potholes’ and ‘graffitti’) and icons for community spaces (‘local’, ‘community meeting,’ ‘community news.’)
With America being in the midst of a fast-paced demographic shift, and US census showing growing diversity, the government has a new challenge of quickly and efficiently communicating its services to a constantly evolving constituent base made of different cultures, ages, religions, and languages. Symbols serve as an integral part of overcoming this communication barrier, and are already widely used throughout various public spaces to represent objects and ideas within education, health care, transportation, and recreation. The symbols created as part of the Iconathon can be used in new civic web applications, in printed materials and in public signage.
Iconathon events will include design charrettes, design workshops and networking opportunities for local designers, urban planners, city staffers and developers who are passionate about civic design. Participants will sketch ideas and concepts during the events, and refine them from their home or design studios while continuing the collaboration process through social media. Each group working on a symbol concept may also be matched with a respected designer to get feedback on their designs. All designs will be submitted to The Noun Project, which will curate them based on technical and stylistic guidelines. A series of blog posts will follow events in each city.
For more information and updates
About The Noun Project
The Noun Project (thenounproject.com) is a free, easy to use online collection of the symbols and icons that form the world’s visual language. Their mission is to share, celebrate and enhance this visual language. A lot of the icons already available on their site are from existing public domain symbol sets currently in use in the public sector.
On Twitter: @nounproject
About Code for America
Code for America is a non-profit organization that pairs passionate web talent with city governments to make government more open, efficient, participatory and civicly engaged. The fellows are already frequently referring to the resources of The Noun Project, and seek to contribute and augment the municipal icon collection in a way that benefits everyone.
On Twitter: @codeforamerica